Saturday, February 26, 2011
Snake in the Wood Pile
Act 28:3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. 5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. 6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
Bible detractors like to point out that there are no poisonous snakes on Malta (called Melita in Acts). What they don't realize is that, unlike today, in Paul's time, the Mediterranean islands were well wooded. Luke was the one who accompanied Paul (Col 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you). He authored Acts. He ws an eye witness to this incident.
It really doesn't matter if there are poisonous snakes on the island today or not. The record shows that the Maltese barbarians recognized this snake as extremely poisonous and expected Paul to suffer immediately.
The 4 snakes that do populate Malta today were inadvertently brought to the island in loads of wood from the mainland. Perhaps a venomous serpent wound up there in that fashion. Moreover, who is to say that the deadly ochia snake of nearby Greece wasn't living on Malta back then?
The fact is, God saved Paul, and that miracle, coupled with the healing of Publius and others caused the locals to see the power of God.
Oh, watch out for that other old serpent in the woodpile. Be sober and be vigilant, he is coiled and ready to strike.